The vestry is an elected board of parishioners who work tirelessly to ensure Trinity runs smoothly. Each vestry member participates with the board, as a whole, and as members of committees. The Vestry and our other volunteers are indispensable in making Trinity the amazing place it is. Check out our FAQs below to learn more about the vestry and vestry elections.
Click here to view the summary of last year's meetings. Or click the red button below for the minutes of the latest meeting.
Shawna Gehres, Senior Warden
(Finance & Budget, Endowment, Nominations, Stewardship, Personnel, Executive)
Joe Wilkinson Junior Warden
(Finance & Budget, Endowment, Building & Grounds, Nominations, Stewardship, Personnel, Executive)
What is the Vestry?
The Vestry is the Rector and the elected lay leadership of the parish. Our Vestry has twelve members, including the Rector, the Senior Warden, the Junior Warden, and nine other parishioners. The Wardens are elected to two-year terms in alternating years. The other nine members are elected to staggered three-year terms, with three members being elected at each annual parish meeting. The Vestry also has three officers who are elected annually by the Vestry: the Treasurer, Chancellor (legal counsel), and Clerk (corporate secretary). These three positions are non-voting.
What does the Vestry do?
The Vestry’s principal responsibilities are oversight of the church’s business affairs, buildings and finances and the relations of the parish with its clergy. The Vestry also assists the Rector and staff with stewardship, outreach, planning, and programs. In legal matters, the Rector, Wardens, and members of the Vestry act as the board of directors of Trinity Episcopal Church of Tulsa, Inc., which is an Oklahoma not-for-profit corporation.
How are Vestry members selected?
The Wardens and nine other Vestry members are elected by the parish at the annual parish meeting. All members who are communicants in good standing and over the age of 16 may vote at the annual meeting. "Good standing" indicates baptized members who have taken communion at Trinity at least three times in the previous year and “have been faithful in corporate worship, unless for good cause prevented, and have been faithful in working, praying, and giving for the spread of the Kingdom of God.”
Who can be nominated and elected to serve on the Vestry?
Anyone who is a member of Trinity in good standing and is 16 years or older and has been confirmed or received in The Episcopal Church is eligible to be elected to the Vestry.
How does one nominate a candidate for election to the Vestry?
The Rector nominates the Wardens, subject to approval by the Vestry. The Vestry nominates the other candidates. In the fall, the Vestry asks the congregation for suggestions for possible Vestry candidates and then nominates candidates to be voted on at the annual parish meeting. Information about the candidates is circulated before the annual parish meeting. Nominations can also be made from the floor at the annual parish meeting by any member in good standing. A printed biography of the candidate must be distributed with the nomination.
When is the election?
Vestry elections are held during the annual parish meeting which is usually in late January or early February. The parish is notified of the date and time of the annual parish meeting in print, via social media, and in the weekly e-newsletter for several weeks before the meeting.
What are the Canonical Responsibilities of Vestries?
From The Canons of the Episcopal Church (2018):
Canon 14: Of Parish Vestries
Sec. 1. In every Parish of this Church the number, mode of selection, and term of office of
Wardens and Members of the Vestry, with the qualifications of voters, shall be such as the State or
Diocesan law may permit or require, and the Wardens and Members of the Vestry selected under such
law shall hold office until their successors are selected and have qualified.
Sec. 2. Except as provided by the law of the State or of the Diocese, the Vestry shall be agents
and legal representatives of the Parish in all matters concerning its corporate property and the relations
of the Parish to its Clergy.
Sec. 3. Unless it conflicts with the law as aforesaid, the Rector, or such other member of the
Vestry designated by the Rector, shall preside in all the meetings of the Vestry.
* * *
From The Canons of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma (as revised October 31, 2015):
7.11. The Vestry.
7.11.1. Unless the Parish’s bylaws otherwise require, a Parish’s Vestry consists of the
Rector, two Wardens, and from three to 15 confirmed Lay Communicants. The Parish bylaws
determine the number of members, the method of selection, the length of their term of office and
manner of rotation, if any.
7.11.2. The Vestry has general supervision, control and management of all business affairs,
properties and finances of the Parish and the relations of the Parish to its Clergy.
7.11.3. The Rector presides at Vestry meetings. When the Rector is absent, the Wardens,
according to seniority by title, preside.
7.12. Wardens and Vestry Officers.
7.12.1. Unless its bylaws otherwise require, the Parish elects the Senior Warden at its
annual meeting. The Senior Warden serves until a successor is duly elected and has qualified. If the
Parish is without a Rector and a Senior Warden, or in the case of the organization of a new Parish, the
Bishop either appoints the Senior Warden or directs the Vestry to elect the Senior Warden. The Senior
Warden is, ex-officio, a member of the Vestry of the Parish.
7.12.2. Unless its bylaws otherwise require, the Parish elects the Junior Warden at its
annual meeting. The Junior Warden is, ex-officio, a member of the Vestry of the Parish.
7.12.3. It is the duty of the Wardens to supervise the care, protection and maintenance of
the Church and other buildings of the Parish, to see that they are kept in good repair and to guard
them from use prohibited by law of the Church. The Wardens also see that all things needed for the
orderly worship of God and for the proper administration of the sacraments are provided at the expense of the Parish and they discharge such other duties as the Church requires.
7.12.4. Each Vestry elects a Secretary and a Treasurer, who may or may not be a member
of the Vestry.
7.12.5. The Vestry need not give notice of regular meetings. The person or persons calling
a special meeting of the Vestry must give written notice to each member of the time, place (if any),
date and purpose of the special meeting. Unless the Parish’s bylaws otherwise require or notice is
waived, the Rector, the Senior Warden or any two members of the Vestry may call a special meeting
upon not less than three days’ notice.